A Beginner’s Guide to Composting

We’ve heard it said that gardening is an art, and while there is plenty of subjective beauty to be found in work, we have discovered that science is what pushes a garden into productivity. There are many variables to consider if you want your garden to reach its full potential. From the soil’s pH level to the amount of sunshine and water that each plant needs to thrive, gardening is slightly more complex than just throwing seeds on the ground and hoping they sprout. 


Here at Watermasters, we want you to know that we’re not just an irrigation company, but we help with everything from watering your garden to ensuring your landscape has the best lighting and access to the best lawn care equipment. So take some tips from a company that helps the pros. Now, we’re covering composting and helping you discover the benefits of turning waste into a nutrient-rich mixture that will ensure your plants reach peak maturity. 

What Is Compost? 

If you’ve heard of the circle of life, you know that dying organisms returning to the earth become food for the grass. Simply put, composting adds decaying organic material into the soil to make it more nutrient-rich. Composting gives the plants accessible sustenance through the help of microorganisms that feed on the decaying material and break it down into smaller components that the plant can use. Plants need food, just like any other living organism, and they get their food from the soil in which they are planted. Therefore, composting is an easy way to ensure that your ground is primed and ready for planting. 

How Do I Make a Compost Pile? 

Creating a compost pile is a little more than just throwing waste into a pile in your yard and hoping that it creates juicy goodness for your plants. Several factors need to be considered to make good compost. For composting to begin decomposition, it needs water, heat, and air. These ingredients will keep your compost pile efficiently churning nutrients. 


Water makes things soluble and helps to break down organic matter into easily digestible pieces. Because decomposition happens when microorganisms start eating the decaying matter, water is necessary to kickstart and aid the process. Keeping your compost pile damp and building it somewhere it can collect and hold moisture will immensely benefit the decomposition process. 


The effects of heat and water combining are usually disastrous in most circumstances. Mold and mildew thrive in places where these two elements are accessible. But, in the case of your compost pile, that’s precisely what you want. Those little microorganisms that eat the dead in your compost prefer the heat and usually thrive. So moist, warm conditions are the best for your compost pile. 


Very few things can live without oxygen, your microorganisms included. Therefore, it is essential to keep your compost pile from becoming too compact and allow aeration to occur throughout it. Like heat and water, air aids those tiny compost factory workers that are readily eating your decaying organic matter. 


That said, a good compost pile needs to be built high enough to hold heat, wide enough to allow breathing room but not too much that it can’t retain heat, and somewhere water is readily available. If that all seems like too much, compost bins work great in places where you can’t build a compost pile. 

What Makes Good Compost? 

If you’re interested in starting your compost pile, it’s not hard to do. However, here are a few basic things to know when you begin composting. The first of these is identifying what materials make good compost. 

A good compost pile consists of a good balance of GREEN and BROWN Materials. 

Green materials include: 

Vegetable peelings, grass and plant clippings, coffee grounds, and manure

Brown materials include: 

Wood shavings, paper, leaves, straw, and small twigs

When you start to create your compost pile, make sure that you keep in mind that for every 1 part of green material you put into your mix, you’ll want to balance it out with three parts brown. That means, for every cup of vegetable scraps you throw in, you’ll also want to throw in three cups of sawdust or shredded paper. Keeping to this rule will make sure that your compost continues to decompose at a consistent rate. 

Start Composting Today! 

There’s never a wrong time to start a compost pile. If you’re hoping for a lush, productive garden this year, composting is the best choice. Give Watermaster a call when you’re ready to talk about lawn maintenance and watering. 

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